As the staring contest with the Cleveland Browns continues around the NFL, the Seattle Seahawks are prepared to sign veteran quarterback Baker Mayfield if he becomes a free agent, per Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot. Mayfield has one year remaining on his rookie deal and is slated to have an $18.8 million salary in 2022.
The problem is the Browns have no plans to release Mayfield, even if it means the team eats the entirety of his $18.8 million salary, per Cabot. The Browns insider also reported that former Seahawks senior executive advisor Alonzo Highsmith was a major advocate for Mayfield but is departing the team to become the general manager of football operations at the University of Miami.
“As for the Seahawks, one of Mayfield’s biggest advocates in the building, former Browns personnel exec Alonzo Highsmith, left Seattle last week to take over as General Manager of Football Operations for the University of Miami, his alma mater,” Cabot wrote on May 29, 2022. “Highsmith was Senior Executive Advisor to Seahawks GM John Schneider. It doesn’t necessarily mean the Seahawks will be less interested in Mayfield, but they also don’t want to pay much of the $18.86 million. One source told cleveland.com that the Seahawks, who have Geno Smith and Drew Lock on their roster, would sign Mayfield if the Browns cut him.”
ALL the latest Seahawks news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Seahawks newsletter here!
Carroll on If a Vet QB Becomes a Free Agent: ‘We’re Going to be Ready for It’
All this tracks with Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll’s offseason comments indicating the team was not interested in a quarterback trade. Carroll’s tune changed when asked about their stance if a veteran quarterback suddenly became available as a free agent.
“Honestly, we’re going to keep looking and seeing what’s available but only to help our club and try to make us better,” Carroll explained during a May 5 interview on Seattle KJR’s “The Ian Furness Show.” “If the case presents itself, we’re going to be ready for it.”
Browns Do Not Plan to Release Mayfield: Report
Yet, the Browns have “no plans” to make Mayfield available on the open market. According to The Charlotte Observer’s Jonathan Alexander, the Panthers and Browns held discussions about a trade where Cleveland would have eaten between $13-14 million of Mayfield’s salary before “conversations stalled.” Ultimately, the Panthers opted to trade up to select Ole Miss standout Matt Corral, squashing the trade talks during draft weekend.
“If the Panthers and Seahawks are waiting for the Browns to cut Baker Mayfield so they can get him on the cheap, they better not hold their breath,” Cabot noted. “The Browns have no plans to cut Mayfield, even if he’s still on the roster at the start of training camp in July, a league source tells cleveland.com.”
Seahawks & Panthers Are Engaging in a Blinking Contest With the Browns, Says NFL Insider
While the Seahawks are waiting for the Browns to change their stance, the team has been able to get a better sense of what they have at quarterback with Drew Lock and Geno Smith thanks to OTA practices. Seattle could holdout even longer to see if Mayfield is still available after Lock and Smith complete the entirety of the offseason program. FanSided’s NFL insider Matt Lombardo sees the Seahawks and Panthers as the top contenders for Mayfield with both franchises engaging in a blinking contest.
“The Browns doing everything they can to create leverage when it comes to Baker Mayfield,” Lombardo tweeted on May 29. “Still feels like this comes down to the Seahawks and Panthers. Just a matter of who blinks first.”